Timeout New York Kids

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Potty Talk

No, we don't always have potty mouths around here, but today the toilet talk was hard to stay away from. The city's first pay-to-pee vestibule had its grand opening in Madison Square Park this morning. Made of tempered glass and stainless steel and about the size of a newsstand, the kiosk is the first of about 20 public potties that will soon inhabit our streets.

Gaining access is easy: A simple 25-cent deposit allows the automatic door to open, giving the toilet-goer 15 minutes to do his or her business, you know, in case your little one really, really, really has to go.

But(t)--see, the jokes are just too darn easy--the real question is whether these bladder refuges will be a hit with the barely potty-trained set. Despite our natural inclination to think the toilets are a bit creepy, they do actually sound more kid-friendly than not. The toilet is flushed with the press of a button (similar to an airplane), there are toilet covers available, as well as a sink, a mirror and a hand dryer to keep your children sanitized.

In addition, the toilet is equipped with plenty of safety precautions. First, whoever designed the high-tech port-a-potty must have children. The floor is equipped with a weight minimum and maximum. We're entirely sure what the over-400-pound max is supposed to do, but the 45-pound minimum is genius for parents with tots who like to play hide-and-seek all. the. time.  The door will not lock unless the person inside weighs more than the minimum, meaning little kids are way less likely to lock themselves inside.

Despite the safety precautions, we're still kinda skeeved out by the whole thing--particularly the sanitary factor. There's supposedly a disinfectant that sprays after each use, but... Well, what do you think? Are these bathrooms any different than ones at Starbucks? Would you take your kid to use one?  Tells us your thoughts.

For more information on the pay toilets, visit nytimes.com.

-- Hilary Walke

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